“If somebody says ‘no’, I say ‘watch me’”: How Michael’s perseverance paid off

Michael Osman was determined to carve out a career in the transport industry. Now, as a successful StarTrack Fleet Controller, he has proven that his disability won’t stop him from achieving his goals.

Michael Osman had one big dream—to work in a large freight company. He already had a truck driving licence. All he needed next was for a company to look past his disability and give him a solid chance. 

Michael has Amniotic Band Syndrome, a rare condition that has left all four limbs with a disability. His right leg is a prosthetic, his left arm finishes above the elbow, and his right hand is missing fingers.

For most of his job application history, his disability was the only thing that mattered to prospective employers. 

“When there’s something about us that’s visible to the outside world, there’s no way to hide,” Michael says. But he’s not hiding. Instead, when anyone tells him that he can’t do something, his powerful response is, “Watch me.” 

Our film crew did just that as Michael got ready to ride his jet ski. His SUV was parked on a boat ramp with the jet ski trailer in the water. He wound a winch, eased the jet ski into the water and pulled in a mooring rope which he looped across his arm stump. He then untied the floating jet ski, climbed on it and cruised off from the wharf.

Michael Osman with his family

A journey met with many challenges 

Michael’s parents were determined to give him a normal upbringing. That meant if he wanted something across the room, he had to find a way to get it. That set his expectations that everything he wanted was within reach. 

But the journey to finding his place in the transport industry put his perseverance to the test. 

“I always wanted to work in a large freight company,” Michael says. “That was the dream. To have a well-paid, stable job.” 

His first job application was unsuccessful. Undaunted, he sent out more applications for the role of forklift driver. No luck there either. Then he heard about a freight company that was hiring anyone with a truck license.

Michael immediately began contacting training agencies to get his licence. 

“So many turned me down,” he remembers. “But then finally there was one agency that said, “Look, we’ll go out for a drive now.” And then the trainer goes, "You probably shift gear better than half the recruits that come through here."

Michael got his truck driving licence and a boost of confidence. He applied for the job, certain he would nail it. He never got the call for an interview. 

“If someone like me who’s determined, over-qualified and hard-working is still met with ‘no’ then something has to change. Just give me the opportunity. I won't let you down.”

Michael’s advice for anyone with disability 

In 2016, StarTrack had a role open for a fleet controller. Despite his scepticism, Michael sent in his application. An interview followed. And then a job offer.  

Two decades after sending out his first job application, Michael was finally working in the freight industry. 

“It was just mind-blowing,” he says.  

Today, Michael’s uniform is an Australia Post polo shirt and black shorts. The back of his uniform shirt features an Accessibility Matters logo.

“My job is to make sure freight is collected in a timely fashion,” he says. “It’s extremely challenging but also extremely rewarding.” 

“This is my message for people with all forms of disability—don't let it stop you. People told me that I'd probably never ride a bike, I'd never hold a car licence. People said, "You won't be able to hold a truck licence." And I said, "Watch me".

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